New Zealand's leading 24/7 helpline, Lifeline Aotearoa, has been saved by one of the country's leading health and social service organisations.
Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN) has answered the call of the nation's longest running telephone helpline, merging with Lifeline which has been crippled by significant funding cuts from the government.
Lifeline Aotearoa Executive Director, Glenda Schnell says for Lifeline "it is really a lifeline".
She says PSN will be committing 18 months' worth of operational support while also looking to resolve Lifeline's long-term financial issues, "to assist us going forward and working out how to support New Zealanders who are in need."
PSN was one of Lifeline's founding members in the mid 1960's and its chief executive Dr Rod Watts says people in crisis need to have a support service they can trust.
"New Zealand continues to have one of the highest suicide rates in OECD countries. Providing a lifeline to those who are losing hope fits very well with PSN's vision of a better life for everyone."
The helpline currently answers approximately 18,000 calls from New Zealanders in need of all kinds of mental and emotional support per month.
Dr Watts says the organisation's initial priority for Lifeline, is to stabilise the call centre and "guarantee callers will continue to receive the excellent services from Lifeline that they have relied upon".
Schnell reassured that despite the merger, there will be no difference when calling Lifeline for those in need of help.
Where can I get support and help from?
Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified.
Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354
Kidsline (aimed at children up to 18 years of age, available 24/7) – 0800 54 37 54
Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757
Healthline - 0800 611 116
Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What's Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) - 0800 942 8787
www.depression.org.nz - includes The Journal online help service
www.thelowdown.co.nz - visit the website, email email@example.com or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between 12 noon and 12 midnight).